GDC 2017: Valve Demos SMI Eye Tracking on its Proven VR Platform

Eye Tracking HMD based on HTC Vive VR and AR Eye Tracking
SMI Eye Tracking HMD based on HTC Vive

At leading games conference, U.S. software giant affirms eye tracking as critical to the future of VR

SAN FRANCISCO USA, March 1, 2017: Valve Corporation, the firm whose technology powers the top-selling HTC Vive, and eye tracking leader SensoMotoric Instruments, have come together at  GDC 2017 to showcase their integration of eye tracking into the OpenVR platform.

Valve and SMI have been collaborating for more than two years, with SMI successfully adding its eye tracking to the Vive head-mounted-display. That modified device is now shipping to research customers around the world to great acclaim.

Now, SMI and Valve are working to integrate eye tracking directly into OpenVR. The goal is to provide VR applications with a convenient way to add one or more eye tracking benefits, such as gaze-augmented interaction, foveated rendering – which delivers a high-end VR experience with lower computational demands – and realistic eye contact between avatars thanks to SMI’s Social Eye.

“Eye tracking opens up several interesting possibilities to both VR developers and customers.” said Yasser Malaika of Valve. “Our collaboration with SMI on R&D, as well as on SMI’s efforts to make eye-tracking enabled Vive units available to the larger VR community, have been critical to our growing understanding of how HMDs with integrated eye tracking will positively impact the future of VR.”

“Today we are pleased to publicly showcase the latest results of this project, which we believe demonstrate notable performance advancements as well as compelling examples of integrations into existing OpenVR applications such as Rec Room and PlutoVR.”

SMI eye tracking is a proven technology in computer and tablet screens, eye tracking glasses,  augmented reality AR and VR headsets – mobile, standalone and PC-based. In total, SMI has succeeded with more than 10 eye tracking integrations for VR and AR in the past 12 months.

Speaking on the eve of GDC at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, SMI Director OEM Business Christian Villwock said: “Over the past year SMI has established itself as the clear leader in VR and AR integrated eye tracking and its value driven use. Today we are thrilled to see our eye tracking on show as part of the Valve platform.”

“This demo is the result of the experience and the valuable learnings we have accumulated during our relationship with Valve, a company that had the foresight to see the value of eye tracking at an early stage.”

At GDC, Valve will host SMI at its demo space with industry leaders and members of the games media invited to experience the eye tracking Valve platform on the modified HTC Vive.

About SMI

SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) has been a world leader in eye tracking technology for 25 years, developing and marketing eye & gaze tracking systems for scientists and professionals, as well as OEM and medical solutions for a wide range of applications. Find out more at Follow @SMIeyetracking on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter.

Media Contact
SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH (SMI)
Tim Stott
+49 (0) 162 271 61 66


Press Contact

Enter position description